I read other great reviews on China Cycle Tours on TripAdvisor, so we made it the main event of our first day in a week-long visit to Shanghai. Patrick was our private tour guide for my wife, 16-year-old son and I. We were staying in the French Concession (I recommend Shirley's Temple 88 apartment: see my review there for a great location and "feels like home" accommodation) and a 15-minute, US$3 taxi ride took us to Central Plaza at Huangpi Road (S), where Patrick met us and had our bicycles ready. Another small group was going to be part of our tour but didn't show up, so we had a private tour for the 3 of us. We chose the afternoon/evening tour from 3 to 10 pm, which made for cooler temperatures for our late-September visit.
The bicycles were like-new Giant street bikes, with a front basket; single-speed, which was fine for the leisurely riding on the flat streets throughout Shanghai. The pace was good, and we could stop when we wanted. Planned stops included the Confucius memorial, traditional market, riding through "old Shanghai," Yuyuan Garden (very beautiful but crowded with throngs of tourists), crossing the river on the ferry to Pudong and back, and a excellent dumpling/soup meal (included) for dinner.
We couldn't all hear what our guide was telling about the city as we rode by places: a disadvantage of the group bicycle tour. But bicycle is still a great way to get around the city (at least with a guide who knows their way around, and knows how to negotiate with the other traffic!). We thought about keeping the bikes as a rental (good discount available), but decided to use Metro to get around the rest of the week (easy, cheap, and convenient if you don't mind standing on a crowded subway train).
I concur with others that this is a great way to see highlights of the city, to know where you will want to spend more time. I suggest you might ask the guide and write down the places you will be seeing (or they could provide a summary/simple map) to help for the next days of your visit to know where you want to go back for a 2nd visit.
For China, the price seemed expensive for the tour (especially for a small group), but we felt it was a good way to see some highlights of the city, and was preferable to riding on a bus with a much larger tour group in slower traffic.
Bicycle helmets were not provided as advertised: you might want to confirm a helmet in advance if you really want one. You do sign away all liability before beginning the ride, and there is a bit of risk riding bicycles in the traffic. But the riding was not strenuous (even with the single-speed bikes) and we took some photos while riding.
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